15 August 2008 - 13:14The Science of Tea
Ever notice that, when you are steeping tea leaves, you stir tea leaves and they seem to congregate to the center? Seems a little odd, doesn’t it, considering that centrifugal force usually pushes objects away from the center (like when you make a left turn in your car and your body feels like it being pushed to the right)? This very quandary was actually tackled by Al Einstein himself in what he referred to as the “Tea Leaf Paradox.” Without getting too scientific, Einstein says the reason that the tea leaves don’t press to the edges of the cup is because friction at the bottom of the cup creates an opposing force that pushes the leaves back to the center.
Einstein’s tea-inspired revelation has recently had much larger consequences that can be applied to real life. Australia’s Dr. Leslie Yeo used this theory to come up with a quicker, easier way to test blood to measure cholesterol or glucose or immuno-deficiencies. Using this technology, all that is needed is a microscopic amount of blood, and the blood is ready for analysis in less time than it takes to brew a cup of tea! The testing device could be as small as a credit card, and it would greatly benefit those folks who have to take regular blood tests, as well as kids (remember how traumatic that first blood test was? I sure do!) .
I encourage all my readers to take a moment to make yourself a cup of tea, sip it slowly and let your mind wander and ponder. The possibilities are limitless for all amazing contributions to the world tea can inspire!